Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rivera 1; Guillen 0

For at least one night, the Western Hemisphere Angels got the better end of the big offseason trade.

Juan Rivera ripped a pinch hit homer off TJ Tucker, and Jose Guillen managed just a measly RBI single after the score was already 7-zippo. Advantage Rivera.

Guillen was pressing. The crowd booed him harshly each time he came to the plate, and his swings looked like he was trying to hit a seven-run homer.

There have been a few other times this year where he's come up in big situations where it's looked like he's pressed too much. It certainly feels like sometimes he thinks he needs to lift the team on his back, and his statements indicate that that's probably so. It's too bad that that often results in popups and cans of corn.

Nick Johnson and Vinny Castilla stunk with the bats too; they didn't even get the hit that Guillen got. But, Guillen gets the Lame Duck. Last night was his chance to shine, to step up and be a leader. And, he didn't.

Hopefully his nerves will be calmer tonight, and that having El Caballo on the mound will relax him, because he knows he'll have some help in winning the game. As the ol' cliche goes, he needs to stay within himself. (Which always sounded like a physical impossibility to me.)

  • Esteban Loaiza stunk up the park. He had next to nothing, but it was only his second bad start of the year -- the other coming on his last road start against the Reds.

    The Angels ripped liner after liner off of him. And, if it wasn't for some great defense, including an outfield assist by Ryan Church, the beating would've been more severe.

    Thankfully, he only threw 64 pitches. He's worked pretty hard this year, and it was speculated that his poor season last year was a result of overwork during his near-Cy Young season. Hopefully this was just a bad start, and not the first sign of fatigue.

  • Sunny Kim and TJ Tucker relieved. Neither were effective. Tucker gave up four runs; Kim yielded two. They're the last two men in the bullpen and they did their job -- they ate up the innings, saving the big relievers for the highest-leverage innings.

  • Brad Wilkerson hit two more doubles. He's back on pace for a mid-60 total. The major league record is 67, set by Earl Webb, an outfielder with Boston.

  • Livan Hernandez pitches tonight against Ervin "Magic" Santana. You get ten bonus points if you've ever heard of him.

    Old hoary baseball folk like to talk about aces being stoppers. We're not bleeding much yet, but Livan can perform some preventative medicine with a solid outing.

    It'll be an interesting matchup though. The Angels are a contact-hitting team that consistently puts the ball in play. And Livan frequently pitches to contact.

    Will they pepper line drives over the field in a rehash of the Division Series a few years ago against my former team? We'll find out!


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